My sister was home from college, and that meant a baking competition! My family is very competitive so competitions in the past were always a big deal. A big enough deal to make my siblings and I feel like we were competing on Chopped or some other intense Food Network TV show. Our baking competitions were an annual kind of thing and I won each time in the past. The family members who competed were me, my older sister, Monica, and my little brother, Luke. This year I wasn’t expecting anything different. Although, this year I really wanted to challenge myself, spice things up. Unquestionably I needed to make the best dessert of all time. Which meant I needed to whip up some nice, classic French macarons!
Ever Since I started watching cooking competitions on T.V., it has been my dream to make a macaron. I knew that making macarons would be easy for me from after all the times I’ve watched baking competitions on TV and from my background baking in the kitchen.
“I know what I’m doing for the competition,” my sister exclaimed, sitting on the family room couch.
“What is it?” my brother and I asked curiously. Usually Monica isn’t the type to be super excited in our competitions. She usually does it because Luke and I force her to.
Monica showed us her screen. It showed chocolate chip cookies with peppermint bark inside. The cookies looked delicious. I wanted to take the cookie from the screen and eat it.
“All I need is some chocolate cake mix and I’ll be good to go,” Monica said.
Did she mean that she was just gonna be using some box mix and call it a day? “THAT’S NOT FAIR!” I yelled. My family knew that whenever someone baked something from the box, I thought it was “a big no-no”. I basically considered baking from the box “a sin”.
My sister cautioned, “Why are you so mad?”
“I’m mad because you are not allowed to use mix!”As you could tell, I took the competitions very seriously and there was no way Monica was gonna whip up her dessert in a minute, while I would take four hours decorating my french macarons.
“I can make whatever I want, and you can’t tell me what I can and cannot do,” My sister said with some sas in her voice.
I couldn’t fight back because my sister was always the boss of everything. She was the queen and I was the peasant. We left the night on that note, but the only thing good was that I got some beauty sleep for the competition the next day. Once I win the competition, I will be laughing in Monica’s face, I told myself.
Today was the big day. It was the day of my family’s annual baking competition. That meant we needed to buy all our ingredients. My siblings and I stopped at our local supermarket. I needed to buy some fancy ingredients like almond flour and cream of tartar for my french macarons. Luke was making peanut butter cookies, so he picked up some peanut butter and some other essential ingredients. And then there’s Monica… All she needed to pick up was chocolate cake mix to make her “fake cookies”.
Once we got home we were all set to go, and the games began. I felt like I was in the Hunger Games. I needed to win, or else it felt like there wouldn’t be a tomorrow.
I started with my dry ingredients. Before I started to work my wet ingredients, Monica was already putting her “fake cookies” into the oven. Her cookies made me mad, but it also gave me motivation to win the competition. I better win this. I better win this, I told myself.
I beat some egg white’s in my mom’s electric mixer from the 80’s and they started to foam just like the directions said. Perfect! Then I slowly added my dry ingredients to the liquid mixture. Everything was going well.
Then I added some green food coloring, which transformed the batter into a mint green color. After mixing, it was time to add the batter onto a pan. As I added the batter to my piping bag, I noticed something funny. The batter was a liquidy as possible. I tried piping some onto the parchment paper. As I did so, the batter came gushing out and made a huge green blob onto the pan. This was nothing like how they did it on the TV shows.
“Why does it look like that,” I said disappointed.
My mom came hurrying over. “It’s not bad. Maybe you should just spoon the batter onto the pan.”
“I’ll try.” I started spooning the batter onto the parchment paper. It just made the cookies look worse. They were not round. They just looked like liquid green blobs with chunky almond pieces inside. I wanted to give up, but I didn’t. I kept spooning batter on, each time getting rounder and looking more like how bakers on the TV shows do it. Finally I was done. Making the cookies felt like it took a whole year.
I popped the macarons in the oven. And waited and waited… Finally it was 10 minutes, so I opened the oven and poked my head inside. My green blobs turned into brown blobs. My heart deflated.
“NOOOOOO,” I screamed. I ran to my room. I couldn’t stand looking at my failed macarons. In my room, I heard my mom in the kitchen, taking the cookies out of the oven, and I heard Monica and Luke laughing at them. That made me hurt even more. All my hard work was for nothing.
When I finally got myself together, I crept downstairs. Monica and Luke giggled, while my mom tried to scrape the brown macarons off the parchment paper.
I looked closer at the cookies. “Why did they stick?” I questioned. “I thought you used parchment paper.”
“Sorry hon. I used wax paper,” My mom sighed. “I thought it would work the same as parchment paper.”
This day couldn’t get any worse. Monica’s and Luke’s cookies look amazing while I had my burnt, green, mushy macarons. I started to feel wet tears in my eyes, and I saw the mess I made to the kitchen. A mess that I made for nothing.
“Come on Mary, Let’s still frost the middle of them.” My mom said.
My mom and I sandwiched the cookies together and put them on a pretty platter. At least they looked a bit better. It was time for judging, so my siblings and I brought our cookies to the living room. My brother, Peter and my mom and dad were the judges. Every year they never really said who won, but we always knew it was me. This year would be different though.
As I approached the room everyone laughed a bit. I couldn’t help it. I laughed also. That made my family laugh even more. Soon enough we were all laughing at the fact that I made the ugliest looking macarons that could ever exist. We laughed and ate the cookies together. My macarons tasted worse than they looked.
My macarons taught me more than you may think. First of all, they showed me an example of how you shouldn’t make macarons. And secondly, my macarons made me realize that I’m not always gonna win, and that I can’t take things so seriously.